Shimkin, Demitri Boris (1916-1992) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Shimkin, Demitri Boris (1916-1992)

Historical Note: DEMITRI SHIMKIN (1916-1992)

Professor Shimkin was born on July 4, 1916, in Omsk, Siberia. His family moved to Indonesia after the Russian Revolution, then to Holland and the United States. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Anthropology in 1936 and in 1939 received a Ph.D. in Anthropology, both from the University of California at Berkeley. Shimkin served in the U.S. Army on the War Department General Staff, the Military Intelligence Division (1941-1947) and he taught at the National War College, the Army War College and the Navy War College (1946-1947).

Shimkin worked as a research associate at Harvard University's Russian Research Center from 1948 to 1953 and was assistant curator of Siberian Ethnology. He also served as a social science analyst to the U.S. Bureau of the Census (1953-1960). In 1960, Shimkin was hired as a professor of anthropology and geography at the University of Illinois. After his retirement in 1985, he was Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at UIUC.

Shimkin's research and publications focused on military intelligence, public health and human ecological studies as regards to diverse groups in Russia, Siberia, the Americas, and Africa. His most notable projects include: human ecological studies in Western Siberia in the Soviet Union (1984), Alaska (1949, 1966), and the Shoshone Indians in the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming (1937-1940, 1966, 1975); and primary health care and malaria studies in Tanzania (1983-1984, 1988-1989).

Shimkin participated in a Center for Advanced Computation (UIUC) project funded by the National Center for Health Services Research and Development under subcontract from the Milton Olive II Memorial Corporation. This corporation was a non-profit organization made up of representatives of the black community and the Holmes project received assistance and cooperation from the residents. Lexington, Mississippi to study community health of African-Americans living in Holmes County, Mississippi from1966 to 1978, (CAC Document no. 138, Nov. 1974,

Shimkin taught anthropology courses at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, covering topics such as human ecology, North American Indian, Siberian, and Russian ethnology, African health problems, and African American cultures. He served as an American Anthropological Association Representative for the National Research Council (1964-1967). Additionally, he was a Senior Fulbright Lecturer at Kemerovo State University (Soviet Union, 1984), and a Fellow for the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (1970-1971).

Demitri Shimkin died December 22, 1992.


"Mini Curriculum Vitae," ca. 1992. [Demitri B. Shimkin Papers, Box 33, Folder 12]

"Demitri Shimhin Obituary," The New York Times. December 25, 1992.

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